In this Op-Ed in the New York Times about Obama's trip to Israel and Palestine, Rashid Khalidi goes nowhere near the nostrum of two states for two peoples living side by side. No, author of a new book on the deceit of the US role in the peace process, Khalidi, speaks of the charade that has created one state between the river and the sea, and the need for a frank acknowledgement of the power imbalance between parties, and the need for American opposition to colonial expansion. Here's hoping.
Some key paragraphs:
First, he must abandon the stale conventional wisdom offered by the New York-Washington foreign-policy establishment, which clings to the crumbling remnants of a so-called peace process that, in the 34 years since the Camp David accords, has actually helped make peace less attainable than ever..
Continuing with the Orwellian grotesquerie that is the “peace process” is contrary to any enlightened definition of American self-interest. It has burnished the image of the United States as Israel’s uncritical defender and enabler. Furthermore, it insults the intelligence of the Palestinian people..
If Mr. Obama cannot face those realities, it would be far better for him to just be honest: the United States supports this intolerable reality and is willing to bear the resulting international opprobrium. People the world over realize that America for many decades has helped produce a situation where, pious invocations of support for a Palestinian state notwithstanding, there is, and for the foreseeable future will be, only one true sovereign authority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River: the state of Israel..
For Mr. Obama, a decision is in order. He can reconcile the United States to continuing to uphold and bankroll an unjust status quo that it helped produce. Or he can begin to chart a new course based on recognition that the United States must forthrightly oppose the occupation and the settlements and support an inalienable Palestinian right to freedom, equality and statehood. There is no middle way.
At Foreign Policy, Steve Walt employs much the same rhetorical approach. Performing lip service to the two-state solution even as he states that it is finished, citing Ben Birnbaum's piece in the New Republic on the end of the 2ss (replete with Arabophobic art). Walt's headline is very good: Two States for Two Peoples: The Sequel.
Obama's trip is bound to generate more discussion about how to get the peace process started again, along with the usual back-and-forths about which side is more responsible for the current impasse...
But here's the litmus test you should use: How many [Israel supporters] are in favor of the United States using the leverage at its disposal to bring the occupation to an end and obtain a two-state outcome? In other words, how many of them favor the United States using both carrots and sticks with both sides in order to achieve the outcome that they claim to favor? How many of them would openly back Obama if he did just that? The United States has steadfastly refused to use its leverage evenhandedly in the past, and the result after twenty-plus years of "peace processing" has been abject failure...
And don't forget that the Palestinians are already under tremendous pressure -- stateless, under occupation, dependent on outside aid, and watching the territory in dispute disappear as settlements expand. At this point, there's little to be gained by squeezing them even harder. If you genuinely believe in "two states for two peoples," then you ought to be openly calling for the United States to act like a true global power and knock some heads together. And anyone who claims to oppose the occupation and support the 2SS while insisting that the United States must back Israel no matter what it does is either delusional or disingenuous.
Right, it's just not going to happen, given the strength of the pro-Israel choir. Yesterday Max Blumenthal told me that if Obama commits to the nostrum of two-states for two people living side by side on this trip, then god help us, we're looking at a long dark future. Far better that he issue bland pronouncements about peace and step out of the way, indicating that the U.S. won't resume its dishonest role of abetting colonial expansion; this, he said, will hasten the process toward a just solution.